The good character of the Muslims I met was one of the things that helped bring me to Islam. However since becoming a Muslim, I have seen how having good character has come at the bottom of the list for some, may Allah swt protect us.
we forgot our good character
We see people that pray 5 times a day, sometimes in the masjid mashaAllah, they give zakat and sadaqah and have been to Hajj or Umrah multiple times. But when they open their mouths, subhanAllah their true character is revealed.
The Prophet (saw) said he came to perfect our character, but over 1,400 years on, we as Muslims have let our characters slip back into the darkness. Islam right now has an image problem. Not because of the shari’ah as most commentators would claim but because we as Muslims have become forgetful of our position in this duniya (a lowly one) and our obligations to Allah swt.
the best among you…
“Be like the flower that gives its fragrance to even the hand that crushes it.” – Ali (RA)
This is the tag line of my blog and for good reason, instead of being a fragrant flower, we’re starting to stagnate, wilt and stink with our poor character.
Abdullah ibn Amr narrated that the Prophet (saw) said “The best among you are the best in character (having good manners).” bukhari
the Prophet (saw) also said “There is nothing heavier than good character put in the Scale of a believer on the Day of Resurrection.” sunan abu dawood
how to improve our character
So here are my tips on how we can perfect our characters insha Allah!
1. Choose your friends wisely
The friends you keep have a huge impact on the type of character you display. The Sahabah (ra) had the best of friends, Muhammad (saw). He encouraged them to be all they could possibly be and they were the best generation to walk on this Earth. If your friends pray, you’re more likely to pray, if you’re friends wear hijab, you’ll feel the urge to wear hijab and if your friends are of a good moral character, this should improve yours too inshaAllah. Choose friends who you want to see again in jannah.
The Prophet (saw) said “A man is upon the religion of his best friend, so let one of you look at whom he befriends.” [Abu Dawood]
2. Treat others how you want to be treated
This applies whether the person you are interacting with is a Muslim or non-Muslim. As Muslims, we should be aware that we carry the banner of Islam with us all the time. If you’re holding the door open for someone, know that you are holding that door because you are Muslim and it is a way of perfecting your character inshaAllah. They’re doing you a favour by allowing you to perform this good deed!
If you treat someone harshly, you are doing so as a Muslim and there will be consequences. On the Day of Qiyyamah (Judgement), Allah swt will take your good deeds and give them to people you have wronged. If you run out of good deeds, He swt will place their bad deeds on your scale. Can you really afford for this to happen?
3. Mind your tongue
Narrated by Abdullah bin Amr – Allah’s Messenger (saw) neither talked in an insulting manner nor did he ever speak evil intentionally. He (saw) used to say, “The most beloved to me amongst you is the one who has the best character and manners.” Bukhari
We may think that a harsh word or a sharp tongue displayed every now and again is no big deal, but in the eyes of Allah swt these actions are serious. If we want to be with the one we love, Our Habib (saw) on the Day of Judgement and in Jannatul Firdous, we need to start emulating him. We can start with our speech.
Ibn Al-Qayyim (rh) said “a person’s tongue can give you a taste of his heart.” SubhanAllah, how true are these words!
Bitter hearts utter bitter words.
4. Fear Allah, He swt is always watching
Allah swt is Al-Basir (All-Seeing) and Al-Sami (All-Hearing) so what makes you think he can’t hear and see what you’re doing? It is said that when a person sins, they feel like they are far away from Allah swt and when they are doing good, they feel like they are close. WAllahi, whether you are sinning or doing good deeds Allah swt is there and His angels are recording everything, Allahu Akbar.
It was reported from Abu Umamah that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “The angel on the left does not write down anything until six hours have passed after a Muslim does a bad deed. If he regrets it and asks Allah for forgiveness, he casts it aside [does not write it down], otherwise he writes down one (sayyiah/bad deed).”
Give your angel and your tongue a rest inshaAllah!
5. Read the seerah
If you want to see real life examples of how to perfect your character then the seerah (life of the Prophet (saw)) is the place to start your search. The people of Makkah pushed Muhammad (saw) to his upper most limits but knowing that his (saw) character was so important to the progression of Islam by the will of Allah swt, he never said a harsh word to them.
We’ve been given the tools to perfect our character, now let’s get to work!